Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Shopping in Hong Kong: lace and vintage Chinese glasses

Here is the new addition to my collection, directly from Cat Street Market in Hong Kong. They are made of brass (with foldable arms...not sure why though as the front of the frame is not foldable??) and have glass lens, (check out the dragons on the nose bridge!) Unfortunately the metal finish is a bit rough, and there are no notepads so I am not sure they are going to get worn very often...shame they would have looked great with the lace jacket I found in a little boutique just a couple of streets away.
photo by Eyespectacle

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Friday, 22 February 2013

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Karen Walker for Advanced Style

Sometimes I wonder what I will look like in sunglasses when I get old? Well, now I have some new inspiration - Karen Walker's recent campaign, where her latest sunglasses are shot on Ari Seth Cohen's silver (and bright red!) haired belles. I find the interviews very inspiring, you can check them out here, this is my favorite answer:

What do you do? I am an artist. [...] For the last 10 years I have started performing. I call it the Eyelash Cabaret. I sing songs by Marlene Dietrich and French, German and American songs with a musician called Zoƫ Lewis. I tell funny stories and for each song I change it up a little bit with a scarf to fit the song. It gives me great pleasure and everybody else too.
 ILONA ROYCE SMITHKIN, 92 years old.

photo by Ari Seth Cohen

photo by Ari Seth Cohen


photo by Ari Seth Cohen

photo by Ari Seth Cohen

photo by Ari Seth Cohen

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Friday, 15 February 2013

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Musing on...Joanna Gniady's SS13 catwalk illustrations

As you may have noticed I very rarely re-post any images from the catwalk shows. This not because everyone else already does, it's because I prefer to imagine the eyewear I see (I RELIGIOUSLY follow what happens on the catwalk!) out of it's intended context, mixed with other items of clothing and accessories, as you would in everyday life, as opposed to styled for the show. I just like eyewear on real people as part of the outfit they chose to put together, not commanded by a brand. All of this said I do like Joanna Gniady's illustrations of some already iconic glasses from the SS13 catwalk shows. I like them because, though they are a faithful reproduction of the look, this look is seen and interpreted through her eyes, it's her personal take on the shows.

Check out more of Joanna's work here.

artwork by Joanna Gnardy 


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Monday, 11 February 2013

Shade, shields and a Sunday sermon by Hussein Chalayan

The School Of Life is one of those indispensable institutions if you live in a big city like London, a bit like relying on the tube to get us from Brixton to Goodge Street, quickly! The School of Life helps us navigate the challenges of living together as a society (one of their classes teaches you "How To Be Cool") . So my friend Rein and I went along to one of their talks on Sunday (or a Sunday sermon, as they are known) to understand what it's like to be an outsider, on the pulpit was Hussein Chalayan.

Chalayan spoke about growing up between (his divided country) Cyprus and the UK, the challenges of fitting in...and ultimately deciding not to. He feels like a migrant - dislocated, never settled and this helps him to stay curious and driven to explore. To be multiple and more than just a Cypriot or a Brit. To transform and grow both as a fashion designer and as an artist...or rather as an artist expressing himself through the fashion code.

Here is one of the quotes that really stuck in my mind: "If you can't fit in within a culture, bond with people that are from a dual background like you". This is something I identify with a lot and coming from a dual background too (my mum is South African and my dad is Italian) this is one of the things I love about London, it's a magnet for people that belong to more than one culture, so if you are a misfit...you are likely to fit-in over here!

After a looooong diversion (which I am famous for!) here is what I actually wanted to talk about in this post: Hussein Chalayan's sunglasses of course! Or shields, sunhats and foldable temples. I wonder if creating shade (which is not darkness nor light) like a lot of his "sunglasses" do has anything to do with his dual nature...

still from Place to Passafe -www.husseinchalayan.com

photo by Don Ashby & Olivier Claisse

photo by Don Ashby & Olivier Claisse

photo by Don Ashby & Olivier Claisse

photo by Don Ashby & Olivier Claisse
photo by Don Ashby & Olivier Claisse

photo by Don Ashby & Olivier Claisse

photo by Don Ashby & Olivier Claisse


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Saturday, 9 February 2013

In conversation with...Harvey Moscot

Artwork by Eyespectacle


I like Moscot because the history of their brand is truly close to their heart.  Unlike many brands who draw their fortunes from the history of their name, they underestimate how much we like to hear about it. Harvey Moscot (Co-president of Moscot with Wendy Simmons) really likes to sit us down on one of those sturdy wooden chairs and tell us about his family history.  He likes to convey the origin of the name of each one of those Originals frames; like that of Eisen, the neighbourhood banker with passion for gambling. The one about Professor Kleyn, the tutor who taught English to the neighbourhood’s new immigrants. These are all mixed in with what inspires Harvey as a 21st century New Yorker, and you can read as much in my interview below…


What do you do if you want to find some head space and collect your thoughts and ideas?
I like to find a quiet spot and play my acoustic guitar. It helps clear my head and let new ideas percolate.

Do you listen to music when you work?
At times I do. And when I do, I love listening to jazz, especially Joe Pass on guitar, and Bill Evans on piano.

 

Which era influences your style the most?
I would say the 1940s and 1960s (I like vests*, they are so timeless in concept but change only slightly according to the period, reminds me of The MOSCOT Originals - accenting one’s attire and contributing a kind of formality to an otherwise relaxed style); however, great style is timeless, and independent of trends or popular acceptance. Think of a great pair of jeans, white tee, or the classic pair of wing tip shoes.

my beloved brogues!

Whose style do you most admire?
Not a single person so much as people in general who possess a strong sense of “fashion confidence” – they know what works for them, and they go for it. They don't chase fashion trends, and they aren't afraid to mix it up. 

Most visually inspiring place you’ve been?
Venice. It’s truly a unique city with great detail and beauty; it’s unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been.

Name your favorite MOSCOT styles and describe the kind of person wearing them and what he or she does.
The MAZEL, from our Spring 2013 MOSCOT Originals Collection, is one of my favorites! It can be worn by a lawyer, an artist – the universality of the frame is what makes it so intriguing and appealing.

Do you have someone in mind when designing your collections, or does that come afterwards?
No, we’re more concerned with function and design. The frames must function as well as they look. Specifically, glasses must fit well on most anatomical facial variations. They must compliment one’s personality and not completely overpower the person wearing them. We like to say, people wear our frames and not the other way around.

What else would you have done if not eyewear?
I’ve always loved writing music and playing guitar, but I could never sing, so a career in the family business seemed like a better move than one as a struggling musician. However with MOSCOT Music and The MOSCOT All Stars, I have the opportunity to play music at work and be around a lot of talented musicians, so really I’ve been lucky enough to have it all!

Who are or where the biggest influencers in eyewear?
Timeless design endures for generations, but our biggest influences are the MOSCOT archives circa 1930 – 1970, historical iconic figures of the past, and generations of creative, thoughtful, free-spirited intellectuals and artists – everyone from James Dean and Buddy Holly to Malcolm X.

Why do you think your brand is so successful?
Because we maintain the same integrity and values we’ve had for nearly 100 years – to provide an excellent and memorable customer experience, and the highest quality products. I truly believe this is why we’ve been around for 100 years!

* Or waistcoats if you are in the UK like me... I wonder if professor Kleyn would have corrected Harvey on this, I was puzzled too!

As for me, the reason I like the Originals, other than stories from the past, is that there are so many elements (the etched metal, the clip-ons, the glass lens and the saddle bridge) that just remind me of when I used to work in the eyewear industry back in Italy!

Moscot photo

Moscot photo

Moscot photo

Moscot photo
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Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Monday, 4 February 2013

Following a pattern...Moviebarcodes

I started my blog mainly to talk about one of my greatest passions, eyewear, but the blog also started as an opportunity for me to talk about lots of other things that inspire me, many of these are related to eyewear (in a way or the other...Sometimes the connection is a little enigmatic, I admit it!) and sometimes these things inspire my artwork; I catch myself thinking "mmmhh...What would he or she look like with glasses?" when I see an interesting face standing in front of me on the tube. Sometimes I see, say...A frosted glass vase in a shop window and I have an eureka moment " Wow! That would look great as a finish for a pair of sunglasses". So, when I stumbled upon Moviebarcode I immediately thought " Hey! That would make a great pattern for glasses"...and here is what these glasses would look like.

Some Like it Hot - artwork by Eyespectacle

Moonrise Kingdom - artwork by Eyespectacle

Annie Hall - artwork by Eyespectacle

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Saturday, 2 February 2013

Love affair #6: natural brows and glasses

Here is my last tip on choosing glasses to match your eyebrows. So, if you are bold enough to go for natural (aka the "caterpillars" and yes, they do look nice!) then you can't be shy about your glasses, you should go for a bold pair of frames that will proudly complement the statement you are making with your natural brows; they could be bold in thickness, colour or pattern, like the ones below.

artwork by Eyespectacle

artwork by Eyespectacle


artwork by Eyespectacle

artwork by Eyespectacle

artwork by Eyespectacle

If you are not a natural brows person, here are my previous post on brow and glasses combinations.

And finally, the glasses I used in my sketches are from, top to bottom: 1. Moscot, 2. Warby Parker, 3. L.G.R., 4. and 5. CHairEYES

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